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Our trainers will guide you through yoga workouts with ease. Barajas says over-stretching the major muscle groups in your back, or forcing muscles into elongation, is a recipe for injury and irritation. Additionally, it can hurt your SI sacroiliac joint, which connects the sacrum and bones of the pelvis, as well as supports the spine. Jai Sugrim , an NYC-based yoga teacher with more than 20 years of experience, says he sees this all the time with yogis.

Balance and stability translate to safety. Sugrim also points out that many open level yoga classes incorporate several chaturangas. This injury can be prevented by pushing the heels back and reaching the chest forward while lowering the body. Sugrim explains that this stretches out the weight of the torso in two directions, taking pressure off the shoulder.

For example, in a posture like upward facing dog , be sure to broaden through your collarbones as you press fully through your palms, and in any stretch or bind, be careful not to pull too hard on the shoulders. Many people feel discomfort, tension, or pain in the knees during a yoga class. This is primarily due to tight hips or preexisting injuries.

A study indicated that yoga can lead to meniscus tears, which is why keeping your knee over your ankle in any lunging postures matters so much. Think about rolling your thigh of your front knee or bent leg and butt underneath you, to bring your knee towards the pinkie toe side of your foot.

When straight, keep a micro-bend in your knee. Try not to lock your knee out, as this is really bad for the joint. If your hamstring stretch comes only from the back body, the risk factor for this injury goes through the roof. This happens, says Weible, because lots of people try to increase their flexibility through deep stretching —when really, less is more. Or, it occurs when an individual attempts to perform a pose without proper alignment and control.

The result? I must make time to be still and to connect to the source that nurtures and sustains me for divine inspiration and direction. May our efforts today, and every day, be to the benefit of every living thing. That in order to fully access your own personal power — to live your life from a place of total strength and vitality — all you need is what you already have.

The demands of our society and others around you may have convinced you otherwise; Made you think that you need to look outside of yourself to achieve what your heart truly desires. In this very moment. Come into presence, and acknowledge your innate vitality that already exists. Just think about it… Was anything truly great ever achieved by resting on the couch?

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Likely not. In order to achieve greatness, we must leave our comfort zones. The Wright brothers would have never taken that first flight. Especially any beliefs that confine and constrain you, and rob you of your innate power and vitality. Do the words you speak to yourself keep you stuck in your comfort zone?

What beliefs do you have about yourself that keep you from living into your fullest vitality and power? Justin Cook. Many years ago, I was wandering through the gym near my house with a good friend of mine, and we walked by a yoga class that was just getting ready to start. Why not? Little did I know at that moment that starting yoga was something that would have an unbelievable impact on my life, and ultimately something that would move me through some of the hardest days of my life.

I remember my wife driving me to my first trip to the doctor, and they looked at me like they had absolutely no idea what to do to fix it. I curled up on the couch; the feeling of powerlessness was overwhelming. I was 33, and I thought my life as I knew it was over forever. Before I became injured, I could and routinely did throw my body into poses, workouts — whatever — without really having to give it a second thought.

Now, every movement of my body brought fear, anxiety, and despair. One thing having a severe and chronic injury has taught me is just how much my body did for me that I took for granted. These are the silent moments of chronic pain that no one talks about, but quickly spiral downhill. Four months later, I had regained enough strength to attempt a return to yoga, and with the encouragement of those friends, I finally found my way back onto my mat.

I set my mat out in the back of the room with what seemed like about 22 props, and prepared myself to feel like a total and utter failure. She came over and offered assists and modifications that helped me move into the right position, and sometimes a gentle word of encouragement.

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Great yoga teachers hold the space to allow us to achieve our fullest expression — mentally, physically, and emotionally. Through the slow movements and long holds offered via my Yin Yoga practice, I learned to be okay with myself again. Over the next several months, and with a little gentle prodding, I started attending Power Yoga classes again — and again, I found myself beginning to get stronger and stronger. I began to realize what yoga was really trying to teach me. I went on to completed over yoga classes that year, and while many of them physically knocked me on my butt, I left feeling mentally stronger every time.

I make no promises about yoga being any sort of magical cure all. While I will never fully heal, yoga gave me my life back — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

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Yoga has helped me come to terms with a valuable lesson in dealing with chronic pain: The pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Justin Cook is a father of a beautiful baby girl, husband, yoga fanatic, electrical engineer, and occasionally under the right conditions, a pianist and vocalist. When not practicing yoga around Northern VA and trying to meet every yogi around, he can be found playing board games and other table top adventures with his friends, playing the latest video games, traveling across the world with a yoga mat, and most often, lazing on the couch with his beagle Joanna.

Each hour long series explores the mind, habits and cultural influences that shape the body of work of Michelin star chefs around the globe. I watch an episode when I am in search of inspiration or to re-awaken my eye to the beauty of small things all around. Your symphony of taste and texture suddenly morphs into a haphazard mess. As in the kitchen — so on your yoga mat. As we close our month-long practice of Saucha in the studio, take a look at these common guidelines for yoga etiquette, are there areas for your practice to improve?

Arrive early. The first 5 — 7 minutes of class are called Integration and critical to connecting to your body and breath. If you are a few minutes late, enter the studio as quietly and respectfully as you can. Check your bags at the door. The studio space is sacred. Leave your bags, shoes, cell phones, extra layers of clothing in the locker room. Arrive through the back door. Keep a clean space around your mat. Arrange your block, strap and water to one side of your mat. A cluttered practice area can easily translate to a cluttered head space.

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Stay in the room. Stay in the practice. Yoga is a moving meditation, any break from the practice takes you out of the present moment — and everyone else around you, too. Even something as innocuous as standing up and walking to the back of your mat for water can be distracting. You create the energy in the room. Yoga is meant to be a contemplative and meditative journey of movement.

Fill the room with your breath, your energy and not your words. The teachers are on hand after class to answer any questions you have or you can quietly flag them over to assist you. Conversation should be limited to before and after class. Acknowledge Your Growth. We clap at the end of class to acknowledge ourselves and our fellow practitioners — not to applaud the teacher. Honor your work and the contribution of those around you by giving a hearty round of applause once class has come to a close.

This week, as you step on your mat, try putting these pointers in place and watch how your practice transforms. Today, in honor, celebration, and remembrance of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr , we reflect upon all that Dr. King fought for, marched for, and ultimately, died for, during his time as a civil rights activist and leader, over five decades ago.

King marched on Washington , wrote letters from a Birmingham jail , or stood behind the pulpit in Montgomery, much still remains the same. It is not coincidental that the very first of these moral directives is Ahimsa , which means to cause no injury, and do no harm. Essentially, Ahimsa is non-violence. King outlined six principles of non-violence; basic steps toward non-violent action that he taught and lived until the day he died. Importantly, he made it clear that non-violence is not for the cowardly, weak, passive, or fearful. Non-violence is the way of the strong. King wrote,. It is not a method of stagnant passivity… The method is passive physically, but strongly active spiritually.

It is not passive non-resistance to evil; it is active nonviolent resistance to evil. Chaos or Community? Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. MLK believed in living his principles through action. At a time in our history that was marked by violence and war , Dr.

King refused to give in to his basest instincts; He refused to return violence with violence, or hate with hate. Instead of allowing himself to be swallowed by the darkness, he became the light. He chose a new way. And in so doing, he became the change he sought to create. The second of the Yamas is Satya , which means truth , or truthfulness. On the subject of truth, Dr.

This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. No one knew this, or lived this, better than Dr. Base of skull lengthens away from neck, if you feel it retract, grab blanket. Same breath actions. This past week has been one of deep involvement with the self through yoga.

We are lucky to have a group of 80 Indonesians practicing with us for 2 weeks. They are teaching them as beginner classes, so those of us who are here for the month get to go back to the beginners mind, and see how the best teachers in the world teach to those "new" to yoga. Yes, the classes have been more 'basic' - but that does not mean there is not intense depth to the teachings.

Sometimes the simplicity of the teaching actually brings me to a deeper understanding. Prashant's first class with the group was so great - it was the class with him I never had when I first started out here. He really broke down his concepts and enabled us to start looking in deeper water. He told us to see asana postures as a means and not as a means to an end. He says, we are all trying to perfect the poses -working for perfection in yoga and in life.

If that is the case then there is no growth, no learning beyond perfection. That concept brought tears to my eyes!

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Geetaji has a way with beginners that is so incredible. Her heart and kindness shines more than ever. She makes us laugh and moves us to cry, and then toughens us up so we don't cry. Today she explained she has been teaching since she was 16, and she is 74 now. That she should retire - but instead she has spent her entire life here - teaching. She gives so much of herself and I am so grateful. She has been teaching a lot to the cervical neck this month, which is so great for me because I have bulging discs and a reverse curve which has left me pretty much unable to do classical Sirsasana headstand and Sarvangasana shoulder stand.

On Wednesday she pulled those of us with neck issues apart from the rest of the class to show how to work with them. How special it is to have Geetaji's eyes on you! Although it can be nerve racking, she always leaves you even if she yells: better off then she found you. Since I was doing mostly a different sequence in Wednesday's class I am not sharing the sequence from that class. Below I have posted today's Saturday's full sequence. Now I am fully IN. Yes externally, but internally as well. That is why I love coming here. I reside with in myself - my home.

I am forced to look inward, and experience that internal space. Through asana with Geetaji and the other amazing teachers - pushing me past my fear, pain, and limitations into freedom.

104 Yoga Quotes for Inspiration & Motivation (with images)

Again, I am left with such gratitude to study with these teachers in my lifetime, and to be here for Guruji's th birthday. Geetaji Nov 17 3. If neck or shoulder stiffness separate arms create space in neck and bring upper arms back -Baddanguliasana - arms up and back! Use hand and turn upper inner thigh to outer thigh to bring buttocks still deeper in. You have to be with your whole spine! Start with buttocks and sacrum in, lumber up, dorsal in, cervical extension.

Maintain this as you go in AND come out of pose. When in pose, head comes back in line with tailbone. Inner knee to outer knee, buttocks in. Arm up, over, and back. Bend leg and descend thigh. Look up. Trikonasana - Legs as wide as Trikonasana, turn and bring arm down. Keep cervical extension. Turn to R. Pull on outer R leg, bend elbow and like P. She has been adamant on actually turning when you twist. She says how we all think we are turning but really we are not - we were working so hard in these twists there was sweat and grunts.

She showed on someone with groin issues and someone with knee issues how to get into Padmasana. She showed on a woman with bad neck issues forehead headstand with 2 helpers pulling with ropes on each shoulder up. A 3rd person bringing her middle back in. This brought us to 3.

She took LOTS of time showing, and if someone had an injury or health problem she taught us how to work with that, This was very similar to Wednesday's class where we focused on cervical issues mainly. SO blessed! My transition to India this time around has been a tough one. Thankfully the yoga helps all of these things. The first week I observed a Pranayama class taught by Geetaji. As she walked into the hall my heart over flowed with gratitude. As we chanted, tears fell down my cheeks. Geeta has an eagle eye. She can see anything and everything in the room, and she is not afraid to yell at you to tell you.

She taught the women class this morning sequence below , and again I was filled with such gratitude to see her walk into the hall to teach us. The class was very small this morning - maybe 30 students. She was filled with passion - yelling, making jokes, lecturing.

It is a journey being in her class. For a woman who says she is ready to die, I question that - she is filled with so much life. Prashant's classes have been more profound then I have ever remembered. Or perhaps I have matured. He has a way of penetrating the yoga in such a deeper way then asana. His classes are different then I basic Iyengar class you may have experienced.

He names an asana and then lectures as you are in - he literally gets you connected with yourself - you muscle, skin, breath, soul - he has you explore the sheaths of your being while in the pose. Then he has you come out, sit and he lectures on yoga philosophy. In my opinion he is a true yogi. Some of the biggest concepts I have gotten from him thus far are: - Where do you go when you are not attached to pleasure and pain?


What happens when you are attached to pleasure and pain? Watch the mind in this Use the breath - inhalations, exhalations and retentions to move deeper in. We had last week off for Diwali the festival of lights which as a Westerner reminds me of Christmas and 4th of July combined for 5 days imagine you can explode fireworks all day long as much as you want! Classes resumed today, and I am excited to be fully immersed now. TURN whole body - pelvis abdomen, lift chest - head back and look up. Don't let head fall, shouldn't be heavy. Arms up and BACK behind head, hands together. Turn feet.

Throw head back and firm dorsal and shoulder blades in and UP.

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Lift chest, head way back, bend leg more. Energy and attention has to be on back leg side as you bend front leg. We focused on turning the head and bringing the head back to back leg side. It should not drop, has to lift and turn. Watch how that affects the chest. Push bench away for extension of trunk, dorsal in. Sometimes when I travel my yoga practice gets deeper, longer, more full and thoughtful. And sometimes I find it hard to find the inspiration to practice, and would rather sleep in and then immediately eat my buffet breakfast. This trip I struggled with the latter.

Let me tell you, those Mexican resort beds are so comfortable and the buffet it so good and inviting! The occasional morning I would practice in my hotel room and even got inspired to make a how to do Yoga in a Hotel Room video check Youtube. I could have beaten myself up and started feeling bad that I was not taking the 2 hours every morning, one should on vacation to practice! Instead, I started having a lot of fun practicing yoga in nature — at the beach, on a palm tree, on a bridge.

This month in class we have been studying Sutra 1. Many of us go through our day with our brains and thoughts turned on high even on vacation! When you start looking at HOW yoga calms the vrttis fluctuations for you personally you will find what aspect of the practice and WHERE in the practice that happens for you.

For yours truly, it starts in asana postures. So when I stopped during my vacation even for just 1 simple pose my mind and thoughts stopped, I took that moment to go within and pause.

source url You see, yoga is so much more then what you just practice on the mat — it transcends to all aspects of life. What you learn on the mat you can take with you throughout your days, and drink up the morsels of nectar that present themselves to you.